New York Patent of the Month – June 2021

The CDC has stated the optimal hand washing procedure involves wetting your hands, applying soap and scrubbing for 20 seconds, then rinsing and drying. Despite this simple procedure, insufficient hand washing is pervasive in the food service industry. Food Service Monitoring, Inc. has designed a hand wash monitoring system that takes the guesswork out of hand washing, aiming to improve hygiene in the industry.

Their system senses when a person is at the hand-washing sink and observes whether they have complied with the CDC policy of washing their hands. The system is communicatively connected to the sink with optical sensors to track the hand-washing movements. It provides instructions for the user, telling them when to rinse their hands, and how long to scrub for. This helps prevent users from speeding through the process. At the end of the process, paper towel is automatically dispensed to prevent contamination of the now clean hands. If at anytime, the employee stops or shortens the handwashing procedure, a “discontinued” report is sent to the system.

In addition to helping improve hygiene, the system can generate statistics to show the restaurants overall success at hand washing. It can be further customized, using employee IDs, to track individual success and help an establishment pinpoint problematic employees. Improving hand-washing compliance is greatly beneficial to the health of all food workers and customers.

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